Born more than three decades ago, the Elantra is a true institution at Hyundai. And although the balance of sales is leaning more and more in favor of SUVs, there is no question for the Korean manufacturer to sacrifice its compact 4-door sedan. So here comes the seventh generation, which still has its own identity compared to the i30, its 5-door sibling.
This differentiation is more marked than ever in terms of exterior design. The newcomer plays the daring card, taking up the recipe inaugurated by the Tucson: the multiplication of lines that intersect to create sculpted and angular surfaces. The result is spectacular, with the high point of the “Z” gash adorning the sides, the outline of which converges to the rear lights, housed hollow under an imposing integrated spoiler. Lovers of sobriety and soft curves refrain. A notch wiser, the front reinterprets the “cascading” grille so dear to Hyundai, extended by tapered optics.
Space and equipment
In the cabin, the inspiration is rather on the side of the big sister Sonata, with this dashboard organized around two screens. The first, with a diagonal of 10.25 inches, acts as a combined instrument panel, while the second, 8 inches, is dedicated to the infotainment system. Hyundai had the good taste to resist all touchscreen, keeping physical controls for the audio volume and air conditioning buttons. The designers, however, have had fun with a grab handle along the center console on the passenger side, and a curious panel to the left of the dashboard… which has no other function than aesthetics.
In addition to its pleasant presentation and fairly neat finish, this interior also has a sense of hospitality. Taking advantage of dimensions on the edge of a wagon (4.67 m long, i.e. 6 cm more than the previous generation), the new Elantra offers ample roominess for 4 people, as well as a trunk with a volume of 474 liters, in the high average of the category.
The Korean sedan also multiplies attention in terms of equipment. The basic “Inventive” version offers very extensive fittings (hands-free access and starting, electric parking brake, wireless smartphone charging, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, reversing camera, Full LED headlights, etc.), completed on the finish “Seductive” upper with a few additions, including leather upholstery and the sunroof.
Hybrid and nothing else
It is of course under the hood that the big upheaval takes place. Exit Diesel engines, which have always been on the menu of the Elantra: the Korean compact is now only available here in a gasoline hybrid version. This takes over the group already officiating on the Kona hybrid, consisting of a 1.6 l petrol engine of 104 hp and a 43 hp electric motor, powered by a 1.32 kWh battery.
Developing a cumulative power of 139 hp and 170 Nm of torque, the assembly is associated with the DCT6 robotized double-clutch gearbox, and boasts a standardized consumption of 4.5 l/100 km. As is customary on hybrids, the transition between internal combustion engine and electric motor is made transparently, with the possibility of displaying the operating modes on the central screen.
By ignoring “fuel oil” for hybridization, the Elantra abandons the terrain of the Skoda Octavia and Renault Mégane Sedan, to now place itself as a direct rival of the Toyota Corolla Prestige which until now was alone in the electrified compact sedan segment. The Korean also displays prices close to those of the Japanese, but can claim significantly higher power and equipment… as well as a much more demonstrative livery.